Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Must We Always Have A Snappy Title?

Did you ever notice that some companies do really well in some aspects of service while performing horribly in others? For this week’s example I will cite the Cycle-Ops company of Madison, WI, makers of the Powertap family of fine products. I sent them my wheel on October 29th, via UPS ground. It arrived there on November 1st, and returned to me yesterday, the 13th. Generally speaking, that is great turnaround, considering that they probably shipped it on the 8th. Even better, the thing looks absolutely brand new. When I sent it to them, it was clean because let’s face it, it’s just rude to send someone a dirty, janky wheel to work on. When I opened it up from them, it nearly glowed. I think they put a new freehub body on, although why I’m not sure, and everything was spotless. Most important, it worked like new.

Now for the bad part: their documentation blows. I mean, it’s really bad. My head (which I didn’t send to them for camp) has firmware v 2.02, and I wanted to upgrade to 2.21. Not on a Mac, you don’t. So I took the thing into work today and tried to do it there. No sale. I didn’t have a whole lot of time screwing around with it, but the firmware file type is incompatible with the boot software. Not that I really know a whole lot about this, but it’s clear she don’t roll like that. The user manuals are generally pretty horrible too.

Anyhow, it’s off to break my legs doing a functional threshold test. They say to do it when you are well rested and in a way that you will be able to repeat, circumstantially, every time you do the test. So I figure that after a completely stressful 11 hour workday when I feel like I’d rather go home and die on the couch is a totally appropriate time to do this. That’s the most repeatable circumstance I’ve got. Plus with a wedding to get to this weekend, the family coming in for Thanksgiving next week and a work situation that’s not likely to get any mellower in the next two weeks, this is my chance.

So I guess it’s “So Begins The Task” (great song, by the way, Stephen Stills from some old hippie record he made) of training with power. Tonight I determine FTP, then finish my prep period and begin my Hunter Allen Base Training Plan.

On the nutritional tip, leftover from a while ago, I have managed pretty well in the first couple of weeks of eating healthier. The FPG was sick last week and M&Ms apparently qualify as “comfort food,” so I had a few of those, but in general I have been made out of spinach and broccoli and kale and other good stuff for the last two weeks.

Lastly, do you have any freaking clue how hard it is to be a recovering Kodiak – aholic on a job site. EVERYBODY dips. I freaking love dipping. It is awesome. I could write songs about how much I love Kodiak. In fact, here’s a haiku:

Oh Lovely Green Can
Only Bear You’ll Ever Pinch
I Miss You So Bad.


Jim said...

Dear God, I hate FTP tests. They make my butt hurt as if I'd... um... paid a debt to society in an Anatolian Correctional Facility.

I've been having P-Tap problems lately, I have a pickup that went T-U after a couple rides. The computer was also flickering a lot, the screen was going off and on, but uploading the new firmware - after some major league computer hackery - fixed it up. Yay, PT 2.4! Yes, indeed, the documentation was mind-bogglingly mind boggling. Made me long for the days of mid-80's low end Japanese electronics, 'Pluggins th3 right plug into the schnelling turtle couple' Engrish manuals.

Jim said...

BTW, holy cow, another road cyclist who used to dip. I thought I was the only one.

Dirty secret - got a long trip up to Syracuse brewing over T-day weekend. Will pack the Skoal Long Cut Classic, to fend off the sandman on those long stretches of I-81. On the downside, yeah, I miss the constant buzz. On the upside, having lost my nicotine immunity, the 4x/year cigar damn near rips the top of my head off. Who needs illicit drugs, when you have Scotch, martinis and Arturo Fuentes?

Chuck Wagon said...

I can't do cigars, they kill me. But I did have an epic weekend of dipping when I sailed in that regatta a while ago. My friend Tim goes about a half can a day, and our other friend Craig hits it harder than that.

You figure out your whips and chains yet?

Jim said...

Yep. SRAM's going to keep making chains, I'm going to keep breaking 'em.

That's just the way it is. Some things will never change. Etc.